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First Man: Movie Review

"First Man" is going to be a divisive film. On one hand, it presents a somber and intense emotional dive into one of the most important figures in human history. On the other hand, "First Man" seems to take this personal concept too much pushing the boundaries of believability as it makes Armstrong a depressive and reclusive person far from what you and I have envisioned him to be. Regardless, strong performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy will make "First Man" linger in your thoughts long after leaving the cinema.
Being the first man on the Moon was not an easy task and with every hero, there was an imperfect human being behind the myths and tales. As Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) struggles to move on from the death of his daughter Karen, an opportunity arises that may help him start a new life with his wife Janet (Claire Foy). As he embarks on the Gemini program that is the proving grounds for the Moon mission Apollo, Armstrong must face the reality that he is embarking on one of the most dangerous missions in history.


Maybe we expected "First Man" to be a triumphant film on Neil Armstrong's struggle and redemption over the issues he faced during his storied career. But "First Man" never delves into any triumph and any joy. In fact, we never even saw Neil Armstrong smile even after achieving his ultimate goal. The film presents a broken man who is completely in a constant depressive mood who is unable to move on from his daughter's death and the sudden deaths of his closest friends and colleagues within the Gemini and Apollo programs. This is a man who seems to be a recluse and destructively stoic to the people around him - worse of all with his wife and kids. This is a complete shock to us - far from the Neil Armstrong we have read and envisioned. We still think that this is one of the follies for "First Man" as it fails to feel authentic. "First Man" isn't a complete dud though. Much praise can be said for Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy's performances. Both clearly brought their A-game and had us feeling every emotional and heavy hit straight in the gut. Another thing that had us in awe was the film's cinematography specifically the first-person perspective directly from Neil Armstrong's very own eyes which provided amazing yet harrowing insight into the dangers of early space exploration. Overall, "First Man" provides an intimate look into a heroic and mythical human being. It's just alarming to feel that this "intimate" look into Armstrong's legacy is doing unnecessary and unfounded damage just for creative and dramatic purposes.  
Rating: 3 reels




Why you should watch it:
- strong performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy
- outstanding first-person cinematography literally puts you into the shoes of Neil Armstrong

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- pushes the boundaries of believability
- a very heavy film for a very momentous event in human history

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